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Roundtable - Emilio Botín, chairman, Banco Santander

The virtual roundtable



Do you expect there to be further consolidation in the world banking industry?

Botin: I think the move towards banking consolidation will probably continue in some countries. But you can't generalize. For example, I don't see consolidation in Europe on the scale seen in the United States recently. Even with the euro, language, cultural and other differences will persist in Europe and put constraints on the scope for cross-border mergers. Another factor is the existence of fairly rigid labour laws that make mergers less cost efficient than in other parts of the world.

Do you see banking consolidation putting any downward pressure on professional salaries?

Botin: It's clear that consolidation in the financial sector tends to put a brake on the salary spiral in some areas, which in my opinion has been excessive and probably unsustainable over the past few years.

What is a bank?

Botin: Banks are changing very fast as a result of technology and the process of disintermediation. The challenge is to stay ahead of the game with the conviction that there will always be a role for banks based on their capacity for assuming risk and generating value for clients.



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